A patent application titled ‘Blockchain for Open Scientific Research’ has been published by a team from IBM’s Watson Research Center on Thursday, November 8, 2018. The patent claims that the scientific research process can benefit hugely from the use of the Blockchain technology.
As per the application, Blockchain can allow for dynamic collaboration between researchers which will thus enable them to track their research work trans-borders. The patent application comes as a breath of fresh air as unlike many other patents of the time, it proposes a non-financial use-case of the distributed ledger technology of Blockchain. With its own IBM Blockchain platform, IBM has been very active in the Blockchain space. The patent application states that distributed ledger technologies will provide a system for the creation of an immutable log of science research.
The filing further elaborated:
“The blockchain system can form a blockchain representing a research project, wherein the blockchain comprises a first block of research data and a second block of analysis data representing a log of an analysis performed on the research data. Summary blocks and correction blocks can also be added to the blockchain representing the post analysis of the research results.”
The patent application was filed by researchers Maria Chang, Jae-wook Ahn, Ravindranath Kokku, and Patrick Watson for the first time in December last year. The patent goes on to add that at the moment, there are limited number of platforms that allow for sharing of scientific research data. The existing platforms do not have the required mechanisms set up for the collaboration of trustworthy data. As per the filing, the ideal platform would be based on Blockchain and it would enable the storage of transparent data as well as analysis steps.
Interestingly, Germany-based think tank, Blockchain for Science, is also working on Blockchain technology in the science arena. The organization held its very first international conference Con 2018: Berlin Blockchain for Science on November 5 and November 6, 2018.